How to groom a horse

Grooming your horse
Step 1

Safe and secure

Before starting, it is important that your horse is tied securely using a head collar and leadrope. This is in the interest of your own safety, as any horse can become spooked. By tying them up, they are less likely to hurt you if they do jump around.

Step 2

Pick out the feet

Start grooming, by picking out your horse’s hooves using the hoof pick. Stand with your back to their head, and your arm under the front of their leg. This way, if they kick out, the risk of being kicked or injured is reduced.

Once you have picked away the mud and grass, use the dandy brush to brush away any dust. Make sure you move away the pickings before letting your horse move around, otherwise they will just stand in it all again.

Step 3

Brush the body

Using the dandy brush and rubber or plastic curry comb, brush the horse’s body, starting at the top of the withers and working your way down towards the tail. Brush the neck gently, but not brush the face, belly or legs as these brushes can be too harsh. Circular motions with the curry comb will help to remove loose hair and mud.

Step 4

Brush the face, belly and legs

Using the softer body brush, gently groom your horse’s face, belly and legs. Some horses are head shy so you may need to hold the head collar by the chin to help keep their head steady.

Step 5

Wash the face and dock

With warm water, use one sponge to gently clean the eyes and muzzle, and another sponge to clean the dock (under the tail). It is important that you clean the face first and with a separate sponge or you risk contaminating their eyes and causing an infection.

Step 6

Mane and tail

Some people prefer to use one single comb, but it is advisable to use separate combs to brush the mane and tail, especially if you use a grooming conditioner on the tail as this can make the mane difficult to plait during the showing season.

Gently use the comb to pull away single strands of hair to remove any knots, seeds, twigs and mud.

If the tail is becoming too long, place your arm underneath the tail at the dock, and cut the tail so that it is level with the hocks. Once you remove your arm, the tail will drop so it will fall around the canon bone.

Step 7


Once the body is clean, use the dandy brush to brush away any dirt and dust from the hooves. Use a good quality oil and brush to paint the hooves. This helps to moisturise and protect the hoof wall from drying and becoming cracked.

Things Needed
• Head collar and lead rope
• Dandy brush
• Body brush
• Hoof pick
• Rubber curry comb
• 2 sponges
• Metal curry comb (for cleaning the brushes)
• Mane and tail comb (should be separate)
• Hoof oil and brush
• Scissors

Tips & Warnings
• Offering a full haynet will help to keep your horse calm and to stand still


Comment: 2
    Walder  01.01.2016 02:00

    Thanks for the link to my article on Essential Horse Grooming Tools (above, at right).

    Woollven  12.03.2016 17:29

    Hi Charlotte, I have never owned a horse, nor lived around anyone who does. But I find this very interesting. You make me want to own one. LOL …. BTW — this is a cool guide. Great work on this. :)

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